Friday, June 29, 2012


Hello friends!

For a number of reasons I have finally decided to switch to WordPress. I’m still in the process of transferring, so please forgive me if there are a few glitches along the way. The good news is, my blog is public again! With WordPress I can make only specific posts private, so ask me for the password if you run across one (the password will always be Lydia -- easy!). There are just certain things that probably shouldn't be shared with the whole world for now.

So if you're following me, please make sure to change your reader to the new blog:

Welcome, and thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ruffle top revisited

A friend of mine is doing a craft challenge and she asked me to feature a project, so I'm revisiting this guy:

Yes, you can make this!

The challenge is to make it look simple, it's a competition to inspire people who feel they aren't "crafty" to do something. And this one is crazy easy, so what a good place to start! It's also a great way to learn a little more about your sewing machine.

The Married Life

For this ruffle top, you'll need:
- one tank top/halter top (this will be your base shirt)
- another old shirt with similar fabric that is the same color

Now for the execution: it's as easy as one-two-three!

1) Cut up the old shirt into strips, about three inches wide.

2) Now we ruffle them. Don't be afraid of changing the settings on your machine, it's really simple: It's also the coolest part, because you essentially don't have to do anything except adjust your machine. So to gather the fabric, simply set your machine to a longer stitch and maximum tension. 

Make the stitches longer but not the longest setting--they'll be way too tight. The top number is the stitch length on my machine (It's probably indicated by something like this design - -- --- ---- ----. Otherwise, look it up in your machine's manual)

Tension is the little wheel at the top. Set it to the max: now the machine does all the gathering for you!

You might want to play around with scraps before doing the real thing so you can get a hang of it.

Sew the strips about a 1/4 inch from the edge.

Don't cut the thread too short-- leave a nice long tail so you can adjust the ruffles by pulling on the thread if they're too tight or too long. 

If your strips are about 1 1/2 times as long as your shirt is wide, you're good. Now look at all those lovely ruffles!

(Don't forget to put your machine's tension and stitch length back to normal after making all your ruffles!)

3) Now tack them on with pins and start sewing them on (go ahead and sew over the same line) from the bottom up. You want them to overlap by about half an inch to an inch.

The top ruffle may need to be smaller depending on the neckline, etc. so adjust as necessary.

All done! I like it with a cardigan for some structure, but a blazer is nice and slimming too.

Now go have some ice cream, you just made yourself a new shirt! And go check out Iris' blog for more projects in the future, and enter the challenge if you feel so inclined.

The Married Life

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A little tour

I know you're all thinking "Sure, Lydia, you'll get a job any day now... which is why you've been there for nearly two months." No really I promise, it's just around the corner, I just need to be patient :)

So in the meantime, I'll give you a little photographic tour of our current home. Well first, Andrew's first day of work!

And now: the Miller House. We live with 5 other people -- it's all kinds of fun. The house is actually pretty modern inside, other than the complete lack of air conditioning... yeah, it's miserable on hot days.

I'm convinced this dumpster actually has my name on it, underneath that sticker.

And on into the backyard:

Dock #1 and dock #2. The one on the right is pretty nifty for getting the raft into the water. The one on the left... was a failure.

And our makeshift fire pit! Andrew's eagle scout skills have come in quite handy since living here.

Meet the roommates (well, mot of them)

Well that's it for now ladies and gentlemen, have a lovely evening!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

We really like rafting

Or just floating.

Of course, we never plan to flip our boat in the biggest rapid on the river...

 At least the water cooled us off on a hot day!

Sunday devotional - scripture study

I started a new "thing" (as I have a tendency of doing).

I actually learned this from a favorite blogger: having a scripture journal. Ok, I'd heard of it before, but one post in particular really got me thinking about it. And then I read this recap of  a presentation about scripture study called "the battle in our brains" which essentially said that we need to create the same positive associations in our minds with the scriptures and gospel study as we have with say Facebook or anything else we do regularly -- there's nothing inherently wrong with checking email frequently, but we need to create that sort of dependency on the scriptures too.

So I thought to myself: I need to be a little more serious about this. And I started a scripture journal, and so far (day one) it's been pretty cool.

I only studied one chapter but I wrote out some thought processes, as questions came up. It was nice, and I felt very involved. I like this method.

And by the way, the sister who gave that presentation will be giving it again this Friday at the Mormon Women Project Salon, so if you're near Salt Lake you're one lucky lady! I so wish I could go :(

Otherwise, church was good today, and Andrew and I are making nice progress on a musical number for two weeks from now: I'm excited! It's such a beautiful piece. We'll record it when it's ready so our family (and friends who may be interested) can hear it too :)

Oh, and I unearthed this little gem: Guidelines for writng LDS hymns. I guess there was a big push for members to submit new hymns in the 70s, but frankly everything he says could apply to us. It's basically an exhortation to create new content -- what a cool way of being part of the process! I'm thinking Andrew and I should try our hand at it. We'll see what comes of that! And speaking of hymns, I may have sniffed out a really cool story on the origin of the "Souviens-toi" French hymn, and I'm in the process of verifying it with the woman who I believe wrote it. I'll keep you updated :)

Have a lovely Sunday evening!

Friday, June 22, 2012

On the luxury of having too much to chose from

Sigh. More female dilemmas. Nothing new, but a few recent articles have stirred up the debate and continue to make me think.

1% Wives Are Helping Kill Feminism and Make the War on Women Possible, according to this author.

Ouch! I see some pertinent points here, but I'm not sure I agree with her premise that feminism means raw wage equality. I've always seen feminism as giving political and social equality to women but especially valuing femaleness as much as maleness, which to me entails that a woman doesn't have to do exactly the same thing as a man in order to have the same "value" in society. And while she starts off talking specifically about "one percenters", her arguments are really stretched out to include any woman who has a choice. I find her basic assumption scary because it means that, basically, she would love to see all women forced to work full time and earn their own keep.

I agree with this:

"Who can possibly take feminism seriously when it allows everything, as long as women choose it?" 

There has to be some sort of standard: Becoming a porn star is a bad feminist choice. Being a mother who forces her daughter to marry at 14 is a bad feminist choice. I'd say dropping out of high school is a bad feminist choice. And she's right that mothering is not the same thing as salaried work, BUT that doesn't mean it doesn't have value: I believe being a stay-at-home-mom has immense value and it should be viewed by all as a valid--and valuable--life choice.

She has a point about women being financially dependent on men -- it's a dangerous position to be in, and that's why education is still very important, at least having the POSSIBILITY of being able to support yourself should (heaven forbid) anything happen (which has incidentally been taught by prophets). But otherwise, her tone is pretty crappy and I'm sure she's going for controversy here... not everything of value in life is measured in $$ signs. She's like the people who want to prevent Laura Bush from receiving the Alice Award, which honors a woman who has advanced the cause of women: I refuse to let a few individuals define feminism in such a narrow way.

Then there's this article, which is spot-on. It also depresses me, because it is so true. I get incredibly frustrated sometimes that the media industry wants to force me to decide between family and a career -- it's still very much all-or-nothing in journalism, and frankly I'm sick of it. There are no true role-models in the media for me, no woman that's figured it all out. I don't want to give up my prime child-bearing years only to be chewed up and spit out as soon as I get a wrinkle or two.

There's another dilemma in all this, as a Latter-day Saint woman: we absolutely have benefited from women entering the workplace in many, many ways. Family-friendly corporate policies for example (for women AND men), or domestic policy that benefits children and mothers. It is important for women to hear their own viewpoints and opinions expressed in the marketplace of ideas. I think female reporters (and not just single career women, either) are necessary, crucial even, because they will have an eye for certain issues that may not be brought up otherwise. And we can bring qualities like empathy and (as mothers) a common understanding of education/health/family issues.

But that brings up the question: how many LDS women should chose a non-traditional path? It's a hard question to answer, especially when I'm pretty sure EVERYBODY I know is sort of wondering why we don't have kids yet. And yet Jimmer didn't serve a mission. Steve Young played football on Sundays. Valerie Hudson isn't a full-time stay-at-home mom. Mitt Romney spends a lot of time traveling away from his family. And nobody gives them any trouble about it, because these people make valuable contributions and also give a positive image of the Church to the world. (Well, Romney arguably not, since liberals don't like him) The irony is, we sort of need more Mormon women in the workplace and the public eye in order to push back, to change the workplace to fit better into Mormon women's lives, if that's what they want. But doing that takes sacrifices.

So how do you know you're supposed to be a norm-breaker? At what point do you know your contribution will be worth the concessions you might have to make? Who will be the next one to place themselves and their family on the Sacrificial Altar of Progress?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Another graduation

Just a quick update after this weekend: my sister made it across the stage and accepted her high school degree with dignity, and she sang the national anthem beautifully in front of thousands of people!

And of course I had plenty of fun with Andrew's parents. We cooked, we shopped, we sewed, we watched movies... good stuff. And I slept so well with air conditioning that I'm a little bit sad to be back. But not sad to see Andrew again!

Saturday, June 9, 2012


I wish I had more pictures, but as you can imagine I'm not 100% comfortable bringing a camera on a raft that was bound to get very wet as we went through the rapids. But it was awesome. We got the raft in the mail yesterday during the day, and of course Andrew had to come home for lunch to check it out and inflate it :)

I had to find something to wear that was water-appropriate, and we found the perfect fit at our local Walmart. (Actually, we have two in Casper, that's how fancy we are)

Yes, they're Hello Kitty... from the children's section (it's a miracle I could even fit in them, although they are pretty stretchy). Hey, they were just perfect for my needs! And no worries, we have life vests too.

When Andrew got home from work at 5 we set out for an hour-long ride down the North Platte. It was still very hot outside, and the scenery was beautiful. We felt like real adventurers! The rapids part was pretty fun (it also filled the boat -- and my face -- with water... I need to improve my rowing skills). The dismount was less than graceful. Let's just say we kind of overshot the landing zone and had to get out in lots of weeds and up a hill. But we have learned from our mistakes :) We're just regular Huck Finns

And then today we tried to construct a mini-dock out of some leftover wood and a pallet that were sitting around, but we kind of failed. I won't even post pictures it's so ghetto. When our contractor roommate returns from his weekend he's going to have a heart attack!

But the raft? Safe and sound. Anybody wanna come play on our river?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Life continued

Still no jobs news, but...

We've been to an arena football game

And played some music.

We're waiting for a raft to arrive so we can go float the river that goes through our backyard. We've made s'mores and hiked up to see a waterfall. It's not a half bad summer, all in all :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

No place like home

So. We visited another apartment unit today.

It was really ugly. The outside is actually nice, the grounds are lovely and well-kept, there's a pool and it seems like a nice place, but the apartment? Hideous. Ugly, dark brown cabinetry and woodwork everywhere, and one tiny window for the entire living room/dining room/kitchen area. The fixtures are all straight out of the 70s and don't even get me started on the kitchen.

But it's cheap. And clean. And much cheaper and bigger than the other place that's brand-new.

Being a responsible adult is lame.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sex and world peace?

Read this.

It's the truth.

Men who see women as beings to be subjugated will themselves continue to be subjugated. Men who see women as equal and valued partners are the only men who have a true chance to win their freedom and enjoy peace.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


I'm really glad I'm still working as a contractor for my former employer (translating), because otherwise I would definitely go crazy. It's hard to have a sense of purpose while waiting around for a job to open up. Good news is the station just posted an opening today, so hopefully things will speed up now. To be totally honest, I'm still a little bummed about not making the final in the Hearst competition. I'm just feeling it more tonight. Thank goodness for the county library! I officially have a card and have been reading a lot. Although I'm going to have to cut back on the dramatic books because I had awful nightmares the other day...

I bought a good windbreaker/rain jacket today, because I'll definitely be needing it here. The wind is crazy!

It's kind of ominous-sounding at times, honestly. This place is just so wild. Yes, there's a 55,000-people city, but it feels like nature is bent on pushing back just as hard as it can. At least we don't get tornadoes! Although given our proximity to Yellowstone we'd probably be the first wiped off the map in a catastrophic event. Do I sound grim enough for you? :) (sorry, we watched 2012 last night)

We're starting to make friends, slowly but surely. I'm hoping I'll be able to volunteer at the YW camp because that sounds like fun. Ah, and I'll be flying to Las Vegas for my little sister's high school graduation! I'm excited for her: she's singing the national anthem (which is kind of funny considering I'm pretty sure she'll have to learn the words... Growing up in a foreign country will do that!) But I'm sure she'll be fantastic.

Andrew is playing basketball with people from our stake right now, I'm glad he's making friends :) speaking of friends, it never gets old seeing cottontail rabbits in our yard. A big fat turkey even waddled through the other day! Pretty crazy.

And that's about it. Unfortunately I don't have anything very exciting to post about. Maybe I'll put up pictures of our temporary cozy country home :) We visited a SWEET apartment the other day. You guys, it has a fireplace! It was dreamy. And pricey. But man, I dream of cuddling up by the fire on those cold Casper winter days...

Friday, May 18, 2012

Good reading

Here's the thing: I actually rather like "mainstream" Christians. (I'd like them a whole lot more if they weren't so obsessed with telling Mormons we're not Christians, but that's a debate I'm frankly sick of.) But generally I enjoy discussions with fellow Christians. I find them to be inspiring people, and I think we can learn a lot from each other.

So here are two blogs I've been following more closely these days.

Her.meneutics is one I've come across several times in various research, and I typically appreciate the viewpoints. Besides, I like women getting together to discuss faith. While we may have theological differences with "traditional" Christianity, we also have much in common and there are some very good articles on there.

(I'm sarcastically using the quotation marks because born-again baptists getting to call themselves traditional is ridiculous. The only churches that could call themselves traditional, in my view, are the roman catholics and eastern orthodox Christians. Even then, they have morphed so much since their founding (and again, they weren't really Christ's original church to begin with if we're being nitpicky...) that it's hard for anybody to stake a claim to being "traditional")

Another one is a nice mash-up of Christianity and feminism. Good stuff.

And now I must get back to work.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The trek West -- or North-East, rather. It certainly feels more Western though.

We are alive and well in Casper, Wyoming. It's still a little odd to think that this will be our home for the next three plus years... the city has 55 000 people, but it's the only real city for hundreds of miles around, so every once in a while if you look up you realize how easily nature could just press in a little more and snuff out any trace of civilization. No, I'm not being dramatic...

But let's start from the beginning. We were sad to leave Provo :(

The drive itself went quite well, other than the fact that the moving van Andrew drove couldn't go over 50 mph -- we were kind of slowing down traffic. Oh well. Communicating via walkie-talkie was fun though :) And I'll add that it was quite necessary because we didn't have any reception for a large part of the trip!

This is what the last third of our trek looked like:

We started to worry we were moving to a complete desert, but then we finally rounded a few bends (they call them mountains but they're more like hills) and arrived in Casper. It's not bad at all, quite green especially on the mountain, and it's almost always sunny. The North Platter River runs throughout the city and there's a path for several miles so we're itching to get some bikes now.

All sorts of critters live in our backyard: squirrels, rabbits, geese... it's a bit dusty, but the river makes up for it. We're excited to go rafting and also explore Casper Mountain. The city's not huge, for sure, and the lone mall is a bit... well, dead. But there are worse things. Hey, at least we have a Target!

look who came to visit!

Right now we're living in a house that belongs to the city - they rent out rooms to interns and incoming employees. So far we only have two roommates (another couple) and they're very nice. It's a bit on the edge of town but it's only a five minute drive anyway, and we're kind of liking living in the wild - it's very peaceful. As soon as Andrew signs a full-time contract though we'll get into an apartment (or potentially rent a house, but I hear that's near impossible to find around here). We have one place in mind that we really like, but for now we need to wait and see.  

Andrew started his internship on Monday and things are going well so far. He gets along just fine with the people in his office and he also found out there are more full-time positions opening up soon, so his chances of getting a full-time position just got better -- and he could have more options.

We went to city council meeting last night and boy was that fun!

It was the first hearing for a proposed smoking ban (an extension of a current public smoking ban) and some interesting characters came crawling out of the woodwork. Hitler and God were both brought into the discussion, and one lady accused the city council of using the same methods as Nazi Germany... there were reasonable people there too though, and honestly it was kind of fun to get a glimpse at the heart of Casper.

And you're probably wondering how my interview went. I think it went well. I could have maybe said more or something, but I believe I got my point across and he seemed impressed by my resume. I said one thing that may have come across awkwardly but otherwise it wasn't bad. He was very friendly at least. I left him my material and told him I was ready and just waiting to get to work... he seemed to like the fact that Andrew and I will likely be here more than just two years, too. There aren't any openings until July though, so now I just sort of have to wait... forced vacation I guess! And here I was all ready to get going. In the meantime I'll keep translating from home, and then call back as soon as they officially post the opening.

So overall, not a bad start. We're settling in nicely, and we really enjoyed church on Sunday - the people were very nice and welcoming, and it's just awesome to be in a family ward, finally. Well, I will add that we giggled when one lady quoted Mitt Romney in her talk...

So bottom line is things are not bad at all here. It still feels kind of small-town ish, which is a bit scary to me, but things couldn't be going much better for the both of us at this point, so it's all good. And we're going to have so much fun this summer rafting, hiking, biking and generally experiencing the great outdoors! (Let's not talk about winter yet, ok?)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Wisdom teeth

I have none. At least not as of Thursday! I had a great experience actually. The dentist was really nice and he even threw in happy gas for free :) I was a little nervous but it went pretty smoothly.

the big bad culprits
After we got home I passed out on the couch for a couple of hours (according to Andrew, he had to stay up with me to "make sure I wasn't dead") I didn't get the chipmunk cheeks, and in fact I've been feeling pretty good. No severe pain, more like a dull ache.

day of

I'm certainly very grateful for effective painkillers. Otherwise, moving hasn't progressed very well but it shouldn't take too long once we get rolling. We've washed the car, packed some boxes, etc.

Andrew and I went to get our hair cut together yesterday, that was kind of fun!

Hey look, a bare shelf! We're getting somewhere!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Might as well tell you now

I didn't make it to the top five in the Hearst Journalism competition. At least they threw in some cash to make it worth my effort. That certainly helps. And top ten isn't too shabby... But I really wish I could've gone to San Francisco.


UPDATE (later today): I'm pretty bummed about this. It sucks to have worked so hard only to not make it another round. But I really don't want to be negative about it. I forced myself to be positive, in fact, by responding to the email. That's something Bitter Lydia would never have done (I mean they just rejected me, what am I supposed to say?) but I wanted to be a good sport.

Dear ----, 

Thank you for notifying me so soon. Of course, I am disappointed to not advance to the final round, but pushing myself to create new pieces for the semifinal has helped enrich my portfolio. I am also extremely grateful for the monetary prize - as a freshly graduated student setting out towards an unknown future, it's nice to have some added security. Finally, it was an honor to be invited to participate in such a prestigious competition. Thank you for giving me this opportunity. 



And I really did mean it. I truly am grateful. That a group of important people would decide to give me money just for doing what I do best is incredibly generous. It kind of blows my mind.

The lady from the Hearst Foundation responded and she was really nice, she commended me for being positive about it.  I am so happy for how far I've come. I just need to remember that.

And go splurge with that award cash. (kidding!)

UPDATE: Here are the final results. It was really an interesting mashup -- two of the fourth-place winners made it, but the top two finalists in the features category didn't. Oh well. Grumble grumble.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Life as of late

I'm just loving it these days. Things haven't exactly turned out the way we expected but it's good. It's great even. Not being in school the last week has been awesome. We're just enjoying having very few responsibilities for the last time in a long time. Graduation was just as exciting as I had hoped it would be, and then the fun was extended for another week with Andrew's parents staying in Utah. My mother-in-law and I went to women's conference at BYU and it was just fantastic. I had always wanted to go -- all those ladies storming campus with their cute raincoats, holding little notebooks and travelling in groups of two or three looked like they were having the time of their life. Now having done it myself, I can say it was definitely a blast. I'd make this a yearly tradition if I could. Maybe someday.

We attended classes on "avoiding the entitlement trap", virtue and chastity for adults (we actually kind of fell asleep in that one... ahem), true beauty, bridging differences in marriage... this one was one of my favorite: it was`taught by a marriage therapist from Utah and her husband, a pioneer in the Church in Ghana. They certainly came across a lot of challenges together, and they had some great stories and advice. My favorite part in that session was the wife's answer she received to the question of whether or not they should marry: "if the Gospel of Christ is your culture, your marriage will thrive."

We also attended one session called "You can either laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache" - it was plenty of fun. It was essentially about meeting life's challenges with humor, having a positive attitude about things. Of course, we laughed a lot. We also attended a service night, where I tied my very first fleece blanket.

And some poor kid is going to have a messed-up blanket...

Whoops... I guess it's the thought that counts? Then there was a concert on Thursday night, and that was tons of fun. One thing is for sure: Mormon women love Alex Boyé!

It was hilarious, the crowds went wild! And we also got a surprise visit from Eliza R Snow herself :)

I think my absolute favorite talk though was one that Lisa & Matthew Richardson gave (Br. Richardson was just called as a counselor to the general Sunday School Presidency). They spoke together as a team (with those little mics that attach to your ear) and the way they played off of each other was hilarious. They were so much fun! And their enthusiasm was contagious. They spoke about being "armed with principles that never change." They also talked a lot about how work is actually a good in and of itself, not just something we do to get out of the way. That was kind of a theme I got from the whole conference in fact, that work is a blessing not just a duty. They used the example of Adam and Eve's marriage and life throughout the talk and Sister Richardson said something that really struck me: they were talking about how Satan told Adam and Eve to hide themselves when they had eaten the fruit, because they were naked. God comes and asks "who told thee thou art naked?" They didn't even know they were supposed to be ashamed, really, until someone pointed it out - and she paralleled that with today, when we are ashamed of our choices or feel inadequate because of what we think others expect us to do or be. Similarly, she asked the following question: "Who told thee thou art inadequate? Who told thee thou art not enough of that or too much of this?" We shouldn't be looking for the World's approval, we should be thinking about what God cares we do. I suppose I knew that, but putting it in those terms really hit home for me.

Who told thee thou art inadequate?

What an incredible reminder of who we should really strive to please, where we should set our sights. I'm posting my notes from the conference here, if you're interested -- they're kind of all over the place but there are some good bits :) This conference was a wonderful experience; the talks were inspiring and reinvigorating, and the company was absolutely delightful!

In other news, if you're still reading: I'm getting some dental work as well as getting all four of my wisdom teeth taken out Thursday. Wish me luck. The dentist promised happy gas, so at least the operation itself won't be too bad; it's the aftermath I'm really scared about. Voilà!

Women's Conference 2012 Notes

This is all over the place. If this is of use to you, great, if not, just ignore it. Quotes may not be perfectly exact, so don't quote me on this. You just had to be there :)

Women's Conference 2012
Theme: 1 Nephi 14:14

Avoiding the entitlement trap
Julie Barfuss
Entitlement = deserving things just because, selfishness
God's ways vs entitlement - we are all indebted to God
World has forgotten where our blessings come from
Stop and remember our Savior
Entitlement is Satan's plan in the pre existence
Sometimes we get so close to the situations we're in, focused on details, we need to step back and look at the big picture - perspective of our lives is important.
Is this the path I need to be on or am I on the path the World want me to be on? Ask God
Work, gratitude and service - to fight entitlement
Work is a gift from God - many blessings require more work (boat story)
"It is better to dig a hole and fill it back up again than to do nothing at all" - BY
Gratitude is a precursor for humility
Nephi and Laman and Lemuel viewed their trials drastically differently. OMG.
We are here to love, encourage, strengthen to bring each other back to HF
Google service ides :)
"The Lord can only guide our footsteps if we move our feet" - Marion G Romney
One step at a time
Motherhood isn't just a season of our lives - it's eternal
Open the scriptures and teach them the words of the prophet

Millie Dadson - from Ghana
Anansi the spider stories
We are entitled to God's blessings and power and spirit
But we are also responsible to obey - it's conditional
Generation "Y not"
Sense of entitlement is greatest threat to our children
The more we have the more we want.
A faithful steward is responsible for his own
We are only stewards and caretakers of all that we have
Those who work hardest at finding themselves will continue to wander
Pride cycle
How to fight entitlement:
Pray for gift of Charity - the more we share it the more it grows
Fill the void - entitlement creates an appetite, replace w love of God & others, service therapy, and wise denial
2 Nephi 9:51 - feast upon that which perisheth not
Extend our sphere of influence
Serve for what we give, not what we get
Live in thanksgiving daily - humility
For kids:
Heaping presents at Christmas doesn't help our kids; helps develop the "gimmies"
Recognizing rewards for doing good things (point them out)
Teach that they may not be the best at everything in this world - they may feel entitled to be good at it, and that it isn't worth it if they can't be perfect at it
Encourage them from time to time to serve each other in chores rather than each do their own bed only
Indiscriminate compliments are bad: "oh you're so awesome" just gives them a reward for existing. Rather, compliment specific actions.
Teach them to which source they may look for redemption

Avoid living on the edge: Strengthening chastity and virtue in adults
Shelley Nash
What we do in our everyday lives helps us to be women of virtue
You are the guardian of your heart
Evaluate how much time we spend on media - it can damage/replace family relationships - can intrude in a sacred place: our heart
Modesty is also important - be modest as an example for our children
Leave the television off sometimes.
Guarding our hearts from the things of the World - we will come to a point where we have no more disposition to do evil
Wise virgins: took the holy ghost to be their guide
Spiritual promptings will never lead us to do anything that will make us feel uncomfortable, afraid or ashamed
Courage to leave movie, put down book
Virtue brings light, indulgence brings fog
Line between Lord's territory and Devil's territory. Which side of the line am I on?
Banana pants! - alternate swear word mom came up with when daughter blurted out her mother's language in primary :)
Lines are there to keep us safe
Fill our lives with goodness - choose to be virtuous: we will find more charity and stop focusing on ourselves so much
"I'm so glad it's not about me!" on bad hair days

Jana Staples
Commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ
World today teaches the gospel of ease - causes discouragement
This life is meant to prepare for the dream, not be the dream
We have a god-given identity, embrace it
Media, clothes speak of who we are inside, testifies of our level of conversion
Avoid things that would draw the Spirit away
How do we spend our discretionary time?
Evaluate activities and simplify life with priorities - place emphasis where rewards will be the greatest and the most enduring. - sis Belle Spafford
Sometimes we are content w being a wood chopper. Stop focusing on chopping wood, focus on the most important things
We are expected to be a self-correcting people, because our worthiness is between God and us
It is for you to lead the world in everything that is uplifting

Afternoon general session
Lisa & Matthew Richardson - Armed with principles that never change
Spoke together as a team :)

Most things in the world change, but some things never change, like the divine principles of salvation
God gave to man to act for himself - agency is God-given responsibility
Satan's plan is to destroy man's agency - focuses only on the choosing
Fear not to do good - whatsoever ye sow that shall ye reap - law of harvest
Doubt not, fear not and proceed in faith
choosing the right is the ultimate goal - "choice is a method, not a goal"
What one person feels is right for herself can not be judged wrong or sinful by another
For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward. (Doctrine and Covenants, Doctrine and Covenants, Section 58)
Adam & Eve had the power to act even before they had mortal bodies
You have the capability to bear hard things
Christ knows it's hard, yet still asks us to move onwards and upwards - he knows we have the power within us
sorrow also means toil - having children isn't sad, it's hard work
Work brings a lot of glory. It brings change for good, strength and character
Don't remove the blessings of toiling from your children!
Do we wear the worker's seal?
Some must push and some must pull - pioneers
"I can truly say I never felt to murmur, for my Heavenly Father has given me strength" - pioneer ancestress
Never-changing principle of work
"not so bad, not so bad" is the Czech translation of "all is well, all is well" in "Come come ye saints" hymn!
We value our marriage because we work at it
We value our testimony and the gospel because we work hard at it
Set our feet irrevocably upon the path He has marked - Pres. Kimball
"Who told thee thou art naked?" (Adam and Eve looked to Satan for an opinion/counsel, they tried to please him. Similarly, don't we look to the world?)
"Who told thee thou art inadequate? Who told thee thou art not enough of that or too much of this?"
Heed the counsel of the prophets, no matter how simple it may be. Face the voice of the Lord and away from the voice of the World.
Teach AND live the principles of the Gospel
"Be a man of your word"
Don't you dare give up on teaching, edifying and supporting your family
"strengthen thy brethren" applies to family, friends, etc.
"Always stand for truth and righteousness, you are special" Sis Ardith Kapp
Stance of exaltation with enthusiasm - pioneer woman painting
Hosanna = "save us"
Our only hope is to be armed in Him - we must act as Christ acts

Friday session
Sandra Rogers - BYU Women's conference committee & Relief Society Board Chair
When answering a reporter about why the Church doesn't use crosses as a symbol: "The lives of our people = the symbol of our worship" President Hinckley
To follow = to accept as an authority, to use as an exemplar
Our discipleship is manifested in the things we do and the traits we develop, in the way that we are the Lord's instruments
We're trying to be like Jesus
Mary and Martha cooking vs listening - Jesus understands women. He knows they'll be happier if they chose the good part
When the world tells us we're nuts for doing everything we do to follow the Gospel, (raising children at home) all we need to remember is the Lords words: "them that honor me, I will honor"
As hope endures, faith increases... We begin to experience a change of heart, then receive His image in our countenances.
Jesus saw a need and responded.
Disciples invest in others when they meet needs
True disciples do anything to find a way to be obedient
Charity = Simply give each other the benefit of the doubt and be quiet, expect the very best of each other
Capacity to have mercy
Unmerciful servant story
Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself
Disciples never think they have it made
Preach the Gospel in the way we live each day
We're never off-duty when it comes to being disciples of Christ

You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache
Karen Whiting
"Just go home and don't worry about it"
Reece's rainbow:
Do random acts of kindness - it's important
"Find something that makes you happy, then throw yourself into it"
Laugh about things that may be frustrating or embarrassing or event terribly awful
It takes thunderstorms to see the rainbows

Duella Williams
BMW = Big Mormon Wagon
Mr What-you-ought-to-do
Enjoy the scenery
"The reason we have traditions is to know who we are and what God expects us to become" Tevye, in Fiddler on the Roof
1) don't sweat the small stuff 2) it's all the small stuff
Kids rolling down hill in van - stopped by rock that has now fulfilled the measure of its creation :)
Reset your gauge but keep your family intact
Life is to be enjoyed and not just endured
That little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine

Some things we have learned together: Bridging differences in marriage
Thomas & Katrina Appiah
(she is a relationship therapist, he's a financial consultant, pioneer in Church in Ghana)
It's their wedding anniversary, he gave her a gift! - a check! (ah, it's a reenactment of their first anniversary)
The best gift ever in his family! But she didn't really appreciate it, and ripped it up.
Understand and embrace differences
Sis Appiah was impressed to say two things: give a sense of hope, as well as some perspectives, skills and principles that will help us to cope and succeed in our marriage
Bridging differences, not avoiding or eliminating them.
A bridge connects two different locations, opens up a new world.
John Gottman - excellent source for strengthening families and marriages
Be open to the influence of your spouse- Gottman
"You can either be right all the time or you can be happily married"
"Positive sentiment override" - focusing on what you love, admire, appreciate about your spouse. Take a 3x5 card and write down what you love about your spouse.
Find something positive in that which is irritating
Punctuality story - he is extremely punctual and never waits past five minutes :)
Focusing on what you love about your spouse increases your love for him
Happy and unhappy couples have the same number of disagreements, but the difference is in how they resolve conflict (or it doesn't even go to conflict stage)
First: extend and make attempts to repair the relationship, and accept your spouse's attempts to repair it too - no matter how botched those attempts.
You must be willing to make e change first.
Second: address issues gently - make the time and find a place. Schedule a time for your disagreement, rather than letting it crop up in the midst of emotions, uninvited
Recognize that in every relationship, there will be perpetual disagreements
"As long as the Gospel of Jesus Christ is your culture, your marriage will thrive"
Micro-iniquities/micro-righteousness - small acts that, added together, cause great pain or bring about great good.
Micro-iniquities: Judging your spouse without looking to understand their point of view, gossiping about him.
Knowing who you are and extending that same love to all around you.
Building a relationship on honesty, trust and love will help us bridge any gaps.
Thus, Experiences in your marriage will make you better, not bitter. One letter separates the two: i-internal perspective vs e-eternal perspective.
Whether or not you are exalted depends on the man who stands at your side and the relationship you establish with him. (And vice versa) Treat your spouse with respect and even reverence, because your very life depends upon it.

"Good looking" is a verb,  not an adjective
Michael Adams
(psychologist - BYU)
Negative body image is an effective tool for Satan to distract us with our small imperfections so we can't focus on the things of eternal importance.
Three Cs, Comparison, competition and criticism keep us distracted
First step is seeing the lie for what it is
There are healthy perfectionists and unhealthy perfectionists (high shame and low pride or vice versa)
Righteous pride helps us recognize our beauty by seeing the divinity within us
Cultivate caring - Jesus is the prime example (adulteress brought before Him)
To treat yourself kindly: how would you comfort a friend? Apply the same method to yourself then!
Self-compassion: being touched by and open to one's suffering
1) show kindness to yourself rather than harshness
On judging: "Sometimes I wonder if the final judgment will be a breeze compared to what we've put each other through here on earth." Sheri Dew
2) be aware of imperfections, but not over aware
D&C 64:2

Diane Robison
YW General Board
"The beauty of holiness" Psalms 96:9
1 Corinthians 13:11-12 we see through a glass darkly
Virtue = Beauty
Sis Dalton beauty video
The Spirit of the Lord is the Mormon beauty secret
It's right and proper to want to be beautiful
The death of pretty - Catholic blog post
The most dangerous message the adversary sends to women: that the only mark a woman can make on mankind is through seduction.
The end of innocence: the cost of sexual king kids!/entry/the-end-of-innocence-the-cost-of-sexualizing-kids,264
"You can't lead your life worrying that the world is staring at you" Elder Holland
"One would need a great and spacious makeup kit to compete with the beauty portrayed in the media around us" Elder Holland
Mormon women need to be lionesses at the gate of our homes
Chewie the cat
How to transmit this to YW: Teach, exemplify, love
- Teach the doctrine by the spirit (vs speaking of behavior and hemlines)
"you have a HF who loves you and a Savior who died for you, your body is a temple, you were created in his image" teach it over and over and over
- Exemplify. BE the virtuous women. We have to radiate so they can't misunderstand who we are. Show we can be beautiful on our own terms
- Love. Tuck them close to you. Express you love. See them with clear spiritual eyes

Closing session
Elder & Sister Andersen (Apostle. Former Bordeaux mission president!)

Musical number performed by Dallyn Vail Bayles - Oh hey, I found it on youtube!

Elder Andersen
"Young men speak of the future, because they have no past. Old men speak of the past, because they have no future."
All that we have is dependent upon the goodness of God
"We're neither traditionally Christian nor straightforwardly secular. Instead, we’re a nation of heretics in which most people still associate themselves with Christianity but revise its doctrines as they see fit, and nobody can agree on even the most basic definitions of what Christian faith should mean." (New York Times editorial)
We are all enlisted 'till the conflict is over
While the battle rages, we need not fear
You are absolutely critical to the cause. Your talents, your faith, your unselfishness and your discipleship are needed.
You can speak about the future with optimism, joy and confidence.
"Things will get better and better and better as we spread over the earth.
As darkness increases, the sunlight of the gospel will grow brighter and brighter.
He will not forsake us if we do not forsake Him" - President Hinckley
"Heaven's blessings await us" - President Monson

Sister Andersen
"it's kind of like primary"
Our prayer for our granddaughters is:
That they will be armed with the power of God, and that they will know throughout their lives that their Hd knows them and cares for them
That they will believe and have faith in the words of those called of God
Hadley, little girl born without ears, to little boy in a wheelchair without legs: "when Jesus comes, I will be able to hear, and you will have legs. He will make everything right."

Elder Andersen
As you devote yourself to Him, His reality will burn like nothing else inside of you.
I bless you, with gifts of teaching the gospel, that this conversion of Christ will sink deeply into those around us.
Look forward with faith, be worthy to bear His name.